Orange Cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream

It is difficult to tell that we are beyond summer solstice here. The sky is gray and there is a good chance of rain. It is par for the course in June in Oregon but my heart still pines for rays of sunshine and warmth on my skin. If I cannot have the climate I hope for I will have to settle for a cake full of tropical sunshine and flavor. This Orange Cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream is not the kind of cake that you bite into and wonder what flavor one could possibly be trying to convey. It is fully and intensely orange and bright and perfumed. I need something sunny and in its full splendor!

A-orange-two-up-web

This rich, buttery, aromatic cake has a fine tender crumb facilitated by a 2:1 ratio of cake flour to all-purpose flour. The reason I have  shifted in the direction of the more starchy flour is that I wanted to add more flavorful liquids to the batter without compromising the crumb of the cake. Starchy cake flour often needs more liquid to keep it from seeming cottony-fluffy and dry, but in this case it is the perfect sponge to absorb the added orange juice.A-orange-back-webI have doubled up on orange intensity by including both orange zest and orange oil. The zest adds a touch more vibrancy than oil alone and also preens with gorgeous flecks of color throughout this golden cake. The zest and oil are added to the butter which is a perfect carrier for the oil-bound flavors. Blending them early with the butter allows them to permeate the fat and tint it a rich yellow-gold hue. If you would like a more subtle flavor you can cut the zest and oil by as much as half.A-orange-lay-bThis is an all butter cake which means the texture is very fine. The flavor is also a perfect counter to the warmth of the orange. This cake uses 3 sticks of butter as opposed to the standard 2 sticks.  This excess of butter helps to add milk fat absent from the usual whole milk (replaced with flavorful yogurt and orange juice) and also adds a lightness and moistness that is synchronous in this cake.

A-orange-flower-web

The plain yogurt in this recipe adds another dimension of flavor and a tenderness brought about by the subtle acidity. It is also a bit thicker than conventional buttermilk and keeps the batter to a pleasing consistency even with the addition of orange juice.  Yogurt is a lovely substitution for buttermilk if you cannot find it in your region. If needed you can dilute it with a small amount of milk or water.A-orange-bite-webLastly, the Passion Fruit Buttercream pairs amazingly well with the Orange Cake (sort of like Hawaii’s POG with out the guava G).  Together they unite in fruity tropical harmony. In the buttercream I used Passion Fruit Paste sent from Ayi at Pastry Portal. Two little teaspoons of this liquid gold flavored the whole batch of buttercream with incredible, natural, fresh flavor. I do not know how these fruit pastes are made but they somehow harness all of the fresh flavor and bright color into a concentrate that smells and tastes just like you are taking a bite out of the fruit. I keep making guests to my home smell them and every time they are amazed at the quality. If you can, check them out! If you cannot access the paste you could add passion fruit puree, or nectar or a frozen passion fruit juice concentrate to your buttercream.

Whether you are looking out to blue skies or gray I hope this recipe brings a little ray of sunshine to your kitchen!

Happy baking!

Orange Cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (340 grams) unsalted butter, softened- 1 ½ cups/3 sticks
  • 15 ounces (425 grams) granulated sugar- 2 cups
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (23 milliliters) finely grated orange zest lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) orange oil or orange extract
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cake flour*- 2 cups
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) all-purpose/plain flour- scant 1 cup
  • ½ teaspoon (5 milliliters) baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (8 milliliters) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (5 milliliters) salt
  • 9 ounces (255 grams) plain low-fat yogurt- 1 cup
  • 6 tablespoons (90 milliliters) orange juice
  • For the Passion Fruit Buttercream:
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) egg whites separated from whole eggs or from a carton- 1 cup
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) granulated sugar- 2 ¼ cups
  • ½ ounce (14 grams) corn syrup- 1 tablespoon
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) unsalted butter softened but not warm- 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoons (15 milliliters) vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) passion fruit paste
  • 4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) orange juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour.
  2. Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes of mixer. Add orange zest, oil and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed for 30 seconds to infuse the butter with the flavors. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
  3. Sprinkle in dry ingredients to distribute. Turn mixer on low and mix to moisten dry ingredients. Add half of yogurt and orange juice and beat on low until incorporated then and beat on medium-high for one minute until well combined and smooth. Add remaining yogurt and orange juice and beat on medium-high for about 30 seconds until smooth and well mixed.
  4. Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is well done. Do not under bake or this rich cake will be over-moist and unstable. The cake should begin to settle back on itself on the edges (about 2-3 minutes beyond when a toothpick comes out clean). Cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out to a cooling rack. Cool completely if using immediately, or wrap in two layers of plastic wrap if using later. This recipe makes three layers about 1 ¼ inches high each. Frost the cooled cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream or your buttercream of choice. Enjoy!
  5. For the Passion Fruit Buttercream:
  6. Whisk egg whites, sugar and corn syrup together in a microwave-safe bowl; make sure the mixture is well mixed so the sugar can protect the eggs from cooking. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 2-4 minutes on high in 30 second intervals whisking well after each 30 second heating. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160ᵒ F/72ᵒ C. (Alternatively this step can be carried out in a double boiler over simmering water). Pour the syrup into a cake pan or shallow metal bowl and chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes until it is quite cool (45-60ᵒ F).
  7. Meanwhile, beat the butter in a mixer for 2 minutes on high until the butter is lighter in color and aerated. Add the cooled syrup in two additions to the butter beating 1 minute after each addition. Add the vanilla, passion fruit paste and orange juice and beat 30 seconds until smooth; can be used immediately.
  8. You can store this buttercream at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator tightly sealed for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months.
https://www.cakepaperparty.com/2014/06/orange-cake-passion-fruit-buttercream/

 

 

85 thoughts on “Orange Cake with Passion Fruit Buttercream”

  1. Thanks for another cake I look forward to making. Love your cakes and reading the detail behind each creation.

  2. Love your posts, all your research into each recipe is fantastic and I love reading all about it and learning something new at the same time. Thank you

  3. That sounds amazing. Where do you find Passionfruit paste? I have some passionfruit curd I made, would that be a good substitute?

  4. Ok…the icing thickness between the layers are absolutely perfect! How do you achieve such symmetry between the layers? Do you weigh the frosting and if so, how much to achieve the thickness as shown?

    1. I weigh it when I want really even layers or I am making a cake for someone else. This time I just blobbed on large amounts and added until it looked right. Sorry, no real science to it. I do recommend weighing though! One of these days I will get out a weight chart of my SMBC fill amounts. 🙂

    1. Yes! You can sub some passion fruit puree if you can get your hands on the fruit, or add passion fruit nectar/juice, or you can use a frozen concentrate of a passion or passion-guava juice. You may need to reduce the sugar in your buttercream if you use the concentrate since they are usually quite sweet. You could also just make it orange buttercream and add 1/2 tablespoon of orange zest along with the juice. 🙂

  5. Hi. The cake flour plain all purpose cake flour or self raising. I found some in Australia but we have both. Bit confused. Making it this weekend

      1. Thanks summer. I made the cake and it is amazing. The aroma, taste and texture were wonderful. The buttercream not sure what I did. I struggled to have it adhere to the cake. It felt as though it was melting off. So removed it and presented as a naked cake. Having said that the butter cream in the middle was lovely.

        1. That’s crazy! Was the buttercream firm or soft? I didn’t have trouble with it but I frosted it cold and that may have made a difference. Was your cake at room temp or chilled when you iced it?

          1. It was at room temp. I will try again. Just to let you know a voting poll has gone around my department at work, as I use them to taste test. They were asked to vote their favourite which I brought in. The American mud or the orange. Results so far. 7 orange to 4 choc. Most wanted to for both.

  6. Hi Summer

    I don’t think I will be purchasing the fruit paste no time soon, $58.00 is a little too steep for me. Also, how long does this cake keep, I want to make it a few days inadvance.

    1. I know! Unless you are a pro cranking out passion fruit products weekly you would never go through 2 1/2 pounds of it! I am going to split some with a cake making friend but it is still a lot of paste. I will talk to Ayi about offering samplers or smaller quantities. I think her site often gears toward wholesale so the items are often in bulk. Try using one of the substitute options! This cake will keep well for 3-4 days at room temperature or in the fridge for at least a week well wrapped. Good luck!

  7. Summer, I really enjoy your posts, the science behind food fascinates me and you do a great job teaching and explaining it. What I don’t much care for is having to scroll down through a bunch of photos that don’t really add anything to the telling of your story. Its not just your posts, I get annoyed at that sweet Pioneer Woman too because gee whiz, cut to the chase and inform! If I wanted to go to a photo site, I would do so.

    I hope you receive this as constructive and kind, and not mean-spirited criticism. Tighten up the photo choices and keep up the amazing good work you are doing. I look forward to seeing your first book.
    🙂

    Michelle

    1. Hi Michelle, Thanks for the feedback. I understand what you mean. I try to provide meaningful caption with each of the photos I provide. I guess being a highly visual person I am photo driven. I get frustrated when I see a recipe for a cake and it is not cut into. I always want to see what the texture is like and how the recipe translates into crumb. Having said that, I will try not to overdo it. Some times one photo really is worth a thousand words. 🙂

      1. Hi Summer, Please don’t cut down on your pictures.The pictures are what attracted me to your site. Like you, I’m very visual. I love all the pictures you post, they help me understand the cake, if that makes any sense.

        1. Agreed! I am still learning about the actual science behind baking, the way ingredients interact with eachother is fascinating! I’m not sure many people realize just how difficult putting together a recipe is (at least for me lol)!

          Especially for others, like me, who want to understand everything the pictures show the structure of the actual cake as well as seeing how many crumbs come off when taking a bite (or even how a meringue based BC should look at each stage for example or if a cake is filled with air pockets). It will also help people with troubleshooting.

          Anyway, that’s my rant for the day 🙂
          I truly appreciate how thorough your posts are & simply taking the time to share your knowledge/offer feedback! I always look forward to your posts, thank you!

      2. Hi Summer, I’m with Diana D. and Sharon – please don’t change a thing about your pictures. To me, they are a part of the recipes. I can even smell and feel oranges being sprayed as I look at the photo’s of this recipe. Also, I discovered your web site through a photo – I was looking for a tight crumb cake and one of your photo’s appeared in the Pinterest search. It was the Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake and it is now my go to vanilla cake – it’s everything I’ve been searching for and more over the last almost two years of testing recipes. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

        Nancy

      3. I love your pictures, it really gives me an idea of what I should expect to see when I cut into the cake. And they are beautiful! I skim through the post first and take a look and admire your pictures and then I go back to read the recipe.

  8. Delicious! I made the orange cake for my hubby’s birthday. I used my usual Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe and made a passionfruit syrup which I mixed into it because a few of the ingredients in your buttercream are not easily available in Australia. I also made an orange curd which I put between 2 of my 4 layers. Hubby and I couldn’t stop eating it. Best cake I’ve had in a very long time. Thanks so much for the yummy recipe.

    1. Yay! That sounds devine! I love orange curd. I am going to make some this week to fill coconut cupcakes for my daughter’s Greek Mythology birthday party. They will be “ambrosia”. 😉

    2. Yay! That sounds divine! I love orange curd. I am going to make some this week to fill coconut cupcakes for my daughter’s Greek Mythology birthday party. They will be “ambrosia”. 😉

  9. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, I have been waiting to try and now I believe is perfect time. I have 2 questions. I don’t have orange oil, would that have much effect on my cake..? my math is bad, I need to make this in a 12′ square pan. Thank you, have a nice weekend

    1. Hello! You will be fine without the orange oil. You can a little more orange peel if you want to compensate. You will need to make 2 1/2 times the recipe if you still want to have 3 layers of cake. If you would prefer 2 layers I would double the recipe and split it between 2 12-inch pans. Good luck! 🙂

  10. Hi Summer. I’m really looking forward to making is, it sounds delicious! (And I love all the photos in your blog, I’m very visual too, so find them really helpful, so please don’t cut down on them! 😉 ) I just have a question about the buttercream… I’ve managed to get hold of some passion fruit curd, but couldn’t get any extract or paste. Will mixing the curd into the buttercream as a substitute for the paste work, or will it not blend well and make the consistency go weird? I definitely want the buttercream to have a passion fruit flavour, as that sounds like it will be delicious with the orange. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thanks Becky! The curd will work fine. You can skip the orange juice if you want and do all curd. You can add quite a lot before it will get weird. You can probably get up to a cup in there easily. I hope the flavor comes out nicely! 🙂

  11. Hi, I made this cake, it was very delicious the orange flavor came out so well but for me it was too dense. I have made swiss butter cream numerous time somehow the passion flavor did not seem to come out and I was worried that it was gonna be too watery. I used passion fruit pulp which was more like a concentrated fresh juice and I added sugar and did a reduction to almost a syrup. Anyhow, I still have it so am gonna give a second try to the cake. Thanks for sharing. The cake is gone!!!

    1. This cake is a bit dense. You can lighten it up with more all-purpose flour and less butter. It also is best closest to when it is made. Cake flour doesn’t store well in cakes because of the starch retrogradation. You can add a lot of pulp/juice/reduction to this buttercream. It will not get watery easily. Good luck next time!

  12. Hello neighbor!! Fellow PNW resident :0)
    For some reason I was thinking you lived in Australia lol..
    Let me tell you I am super excited to try this cake.. Thanks a bunch!

    1. I hope you enjoy the flavors PNW buddy! If you plan to store the cake I recommend using half the weight in all-purpose flour since it stales much slower than cake flour because of the lower starch content. Enjoy!

  13. Hello Summer, i’m looking at this recipe and i really like it for my next cake. By the way i’m confused with the quantity of baking soda.. If i’m not wrong, 1 tsp are 5 mililiters and here you put like 1/2 tsp as 5 ml. Can you aclare this issue for me? Thank you very much, i’m a big fan of your blog 🙂

    1. Hi Mara, Sorry for the delayed response! I probably just rounded up to get to a discrete number. If you can measure 1/2 teaspoon I would go with that measurement since that is what I used when I was making the original cake. 🙂

  14. I made this for the first time this week. All I can say is YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. The cake is so delicious even without the frosting. I didn’t went to spend $$$$ on passion fruit paste so I bought some frozen puree and just cooked it down until it was almost a paste. Great flavor. I love passion fruit anything so I knew I was going to love this, Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. I have already made 4 of them and had great success with all of them.

  15. Hi Summer

    Thank you for this lovely recipe. I just have a question… must the batter be divided into three pans or can it be done in one big pan. You see I like to bake a large cake and then torte it myself. I made your recipe today and it sunk in the middle, so I made another batch and it did the same thing. Could it be that it must be divided. It smells and tastes divine.

    Thank you once again
    Tania 🙂

  16. Hi Summer, I’ve made this cake a few times now and have always had great feedback about it, all your recipes I’ve used are delicious! This orange cake is now my hubby’s favourite! I want to make a cake with the same texture as this as I need to carve it, but it needs to be a lemon cake. Would it work by simply swapping the orange zest/extract/juice for lemon zest/extract/juice? I have another lemon cake recipe I can use that would work, but I love this orange cake one so much that if it’s as simple as just swapping orange for lemon I will go for it! Thanks 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you like this recipe! You can easily swap the zest and extract but the juice gets a bit tricky. If you increase the acid in your batter too much it will affect some of your structural components. It think you could get away with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add 4 tablespoons of water and keep in line with acid content. If you want to add much more lemon juice I would suggest adding an additional 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. I think the lemon will be delicious! Best of luck with this. 🙂

      1. Thanks Summer! I would never have thought about the acidity levels, so will do as you suggest and give it a go. Thanks so much for such a speedy reply, it’s very much appreciated. Being able to tap into your knowledge and read your blog is a huge blessing to me, so thank you very much for that! 🙂

  17. Hi Summer. Your cakes all look so divine, I want to try all of them! While I’ve always loved to bake, I’ve recently started using and decorating with fondant for my family’s birthday cakes. I’m a bit confused though ad to which cakes I can use for stacking and under fondant, and which ones will crumble under the weight. I was wondering if you would be able to tell me which of your beautiful recipes I could use to stack in tiers, and which ones will suit a fondant covering. Any advice is very much appreciated!

    1. Hi Natalie, Most of my cakes will work well for stacking and covering. Perhaps the Italian Cream Cake would be pushing the limits a bit but the others should be fine. If you are concerned, work with the layers while they are cold or frozen. This firms them enough to keep everything in shape while you frost and fill. Also, make sure you are working with a buttercream that is suitable for covering with fondant. The Easy Foolproof SMBC and Simple Silky Buttercream will work well because of their high butter content. Be sure to cover your cakes in fondant while the cake is cold to have a firm understructure. Let me know if you have any specific concerns. Good luck!

      1. Thankyou Summer. I’ll have to give all of your cakes a try then! I actually made your SMBC today for a cake I’m doing- it worked out perfectly, soft, white and fluffy! The lady I’m making it for wanted chocolate flavoured filling, so I added some dark choc ganache and a tablespoon of Dutch Cocoa to the SMBC and it tasted fabulous. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you so much 🙂

  18. Thanks sooooooooooo…..much great taste,tried it.challenge is despite great taste cake such in centre,I live in Africa could this temp or altitude affect a thing?

    1. Hi Hellen, It could be a number of issues. If you are worried about it happening again you can add a touch more flour (1/4 cup) or another egg. Also, be sure the cake is very done before you remove it. Let me know if I can help more. 🙂

  19. oh Summer,wooooooooowwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Am soooooooo….touched that you did reply me!!!!!!!!!!!love you to bits.
    Am definitely going to try it out tonite,thaaaaaaaannnks for responding.l mean this cake has awarded me clients but that issue was keeping me afraid.
    Bless you,bless you big time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Hi there, I live in the UK and it is impossible to get cake flour here which is so annoying. Would it be possible to make with cake with all all purpose flour or make the potato flour all purpose flour blend you detail in the difference is flours post. Thanks for your help. I am so excited to make this cake. And an extra bonus is that your measurements include grams which is so helpful for someone living in the UK.
    Thanks for your help!

  21. Yet another of your recipes worked perfectly. The texture was perfect, icing work great. A very moist fresh tasting cake. I am a coffee girl myself so for my favourite, I think,
    is the white mocha cake with espresso caramel buttercream, But they are all good. A close second would be the Italian cream cake and chocolate mud cake. Very hard to pick. Thank you again for these wonderful recipes

    1. I am so happy that you have had success with all of those recipes! Let me know if you have specific requests for other flavors 🙂

  22. I was browsing the internet looking for a recipe for passionfruit cake when I came across your recipe on your blog. I read the recipe and I am totally making this tomorrow!! I’m fortunate that where I’m from we can easily get fresh passionfruit, so i’m intending on using these. I hope it turns out like yours! It looks amazing!! The photos are stunning!! Thanks =)

  23. Hi Summer…love this recipe..want to present this cake with buttercream icing rosettes on it. Will this icing be okay to make rosettes with? I am planning to use 1M wilton nozzle. Please guide thanks.

    1. I am glad you like this recipe. It’s fun and unique. You should have not problem making rosettes with this buttercream. If it starts to get warm and wonky, chill your piping bag for a short bit before continuing (I’m sure your hand will thank you anyway 😉 )

  24. TUS RECETAS SON INCREIBLES ESPERO PODER HACER ALGUNA , TENGO QUE TRADUCIR TODO ANTES DE COMENZAR GRACIAS POR COMPARTIR DESDE CHILE GRACIAS

  25. The recipe calls for 8 oz or 227 grams or 2 cups of cake flour. However, 8 ounces (0r 227 grams) equals one only cup. The recipe likewisecalls for 4 ounces or 113 grams or “one scant cup” of all purpose flour. Four ounces or 113 grams equals one HALF cup. So a numberl of the volumes cited in the recipe are inaccurate. Please confirm the correct ones.

    1. Hi Jim, The measurements given in the recipe are for weight and not volume. One cup of fluid or volume measurement equals 8 ounces. But because of density variances of ingredients 1 cup of cake flour will weigh 4 ounces while 1 cup of packed brown sugar will weigh 8 ounces. All of my ounce measurements are weight (for accuracy in the recipe) unless noted as fluid ounces or marked as a volume. I hope that clarifies any confusion. 🙂

  26. Sure! There are a couple of ways you can do it. If you can find an extract or flavor paste that’s the easiest way to flavor and not have problems with cake structure. You could also substitute juice or fruit puree for a portion of the yogurt. Half would be on the safe side but you may be able to get away with a full swap out as well for the most passion fruit flavor. To increase the flavor intensity you could reduce the juice or puree on the stovetop to concentrate it, then cool and add for a portion of yogurt. Sometimes you can find frozen juice concentrated in passion fruit as well. Let me know if you try it!

  27. Hi, Summer! Getting ready to make this cake again (delicious!), but want to make it a bit lighter. You mentioned adding more AP flour and less butter. Did you mean increasing the proportion of AP to cake or just adding additional AP? Can you give me some target amounts? Additional 1/4 AP flour? Reduce butter by 1/2 stick? Thank you!

    1. Hi Inga! Here is what I would do. Cut the butter to 1 1/4 cups, increase the all purpose flour by 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) and increase the yogurt to 1 1/2 cups. There are no guarantees in cake but I believe this should work. Also increase your baking powder to 2 1/2 teaspoons and yes there should be salt, 1/2 teaspoon. I will get that added in. Thanks for noticing! Let me know how it turns out. Smiles

  28. Hi Summer so i am looking into making this cake this week so i have a question. are all the ingredients room temp? butter, eggs, orange juice and yogurt?

  29. Hello Summer. I couldn’t find Passion fruit paste but have “all natural Passion fruit flavoring” from Scrapcooking. It is: Inverted sugar syrup, and natural passion fruit flavour and they recommend for every 100 grams use 2-3 teaspoons depending on personal taste. Will this work in your recipe? If yes, how much would you recommend and should I reduce the sugar content in the recipe? Thank you.

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